- The Washington Times - Friday, February 28, 2020

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday chided what he described as an overhyping of the coronavirus outbreak as an effort try to bring down President Trump post-impeachment, saying the administration has things under control.

“There are professionals who know how to handle this. The professionals [are] handling” it, Mr. Mulvaney said, helping to kick off the Friday proceedings at the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference.

He said it’s going to take a while to get a vaccine to market because officials want it to be safe.

“Are you going to see some schools shut down? Probably,” he said. “But we do this — we know how to handle this.”

“Is it real? It absolutely is real — there’s no question about it. But you saw the president the other day — the flu is real,” he said. “This is not Ebola. It’s not SARS.”

He said it looks like the coronavirus is “someplace between 1 and 2 percent fatal.”

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“Is that serious? It absolutely is — there’s no question about it, OK? But it’s not a death sentence,” he said.

He scolded the press and the left for how they have portrayed the situation.

“We took extraordinary steps four or five weeks ago,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “Why didn’t you hear about it? What was still going on four or five weeks ago? Impeachment, and that’s all the press wanted to talk about.”

“The reason you’re seeing so much attention [paid] to it today is that they think this is going to be what brings down the president. That’s what this is all about,” he said.

Mr. Mulvaney said he got a recent note from a reporter asking, “What are you going to do today to calm the markets?”

“I’m like, really what I’d like to do today to calm the markets is tell people turn the television off,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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